Page manager Published: Wed 26 Apr 2017.

Interview-Joel-Akhi

New Experiences in New Country

Living in a new environment can be challenging for some people. We had an interview with two international students who are now studying at Chalmers to share their experiences and challenges to live and study in a new country.

Q : Questions
J : Joel Alexander
A : Akhilesh Krishna

Q : Hi! Thank you for your time for this interview. Please introduce yourself.

J : Hej! Jag heter Joel Alexander (Don’t fret, this is the only Swedish I know!) and I hail from India. I am currently pursuing my Masters degree in Wireless, Photonics and Space Engineering – Sounds fancy but arguably one of the toughest courses in Chalmers.

A :Hello, My name is Akhilesh Krishna and i am from India. I am pursuing my Masters in product Development at Chalmers.

Q : What is the most exciting thing about studying abroad?

J : As I say “Memories are the perfect power-banks for life”, just think about one and you get instantly re-energized. Likewise as I look back, life as a “Chalmerist” has presented me with a lot of memories. The most exciting thing about my new home, in my opinion was getting to know various people from different walks of life, each having their own trademark style of doing things be it in extra-curricular or in scholastic activities. New languages, cultures, gourmet choices and music genres (I’ll talk about it later on!) make up my new home in a nutshell.

A : Studying abroad is like expanding your comfort zone. Meeting new people, learning new language, culture, sports, habits and getting an overall international exposure with company in collaboration with my studies. This helps me learn a lot of things which i could not have ever learned if i would have not moved out of my own Country. It changed my way of thinking and developed me on an overall level.

Q : Do you have any difficulties studying in a new school in a new country?

J : My bachelor study program was extensive to say the least. The way of evaluating yourselves in India is a whole lot different. It was challenging due to the sheer fact we had to study 50+ subjects within four years - which meant I became a “Jack of all trades and master of none”. Therefore, coming here meant that I had to change the way of evaluating myself (normal people call it EXAM :P) along with developing a new thought process when approached with a problem. Luckily I had people who are already “masters” (The Swedes - teachers and friends included) to help me on all of this.


A : At first i felt like the baby bird who flew from the nest for the first time. The way of teaching and examination was way different from the one i was used to since my childhood so it took me a few months to get accustomed to this new way, but it was fun at the same time.

Q : Do you have any activities outside school? and why do you choose to do this?

J : Finally! The fun part. Music takes up almost all of my time during the weekends. I play the guitar and am one of the worship leaders in a church here in Gothenburg as I like to sing as well.(Smyrnakyrkan - The name of the church so that interested people can come watch me perform :P) I occasionally love to ski even though I fall flat on my face often. Also, I work as an “Amanuens” at Chalmers which provides me with the opportunity to play with all kinds of cutting edge technology as well as to apply what I have learnt. “Birds of a feather flock together” - A lot of us Indians here are part of an organisation called Rang which conducts cultural events in affiliation with Chalmers. Also, in my never ending quest of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I like to engage myself in morning jogs or workouts. I strongly advise everyone to partake in some activity outside of school!

A : Other than my studies at Chalmers, i am the SWAD(taste) head of the RANG- Indian Chalmers Association, which conducts Indian cultural events in collaboration with Chalmers. My main responsibilities are to arrange delicious Indian cuisines for each event and to teach Indian way of cooking and dining etiquettes. To maintain my fitness i go to gym. I also manage a facebook page called Comfort Zone Booster through with i help people boost up their level of comfort, which in turn has helped me a lot to improve.

Q : How does it help you overcome the difficulties you have?

J : “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” 
Engaging in music and being part of the worship team really helps to recharge my batteries after a long and tiring week at school as well as it helps me to meet and greet new people every week. This broadens my horizon as well. I get a chance to learn from them, take whatever I can and in the process influence them a little bit as well. Besides, having a lot of friends doesn’t hurt, right? Also, the camaraderie and the affection showcased by everyone in my circle makes me forget the fact that I am thousands of miles away from home! 

A :Being a part of RANG improves my contact with people in Sweden and it helps me avoid homesickness, by giving me a feeling of being a part of a small India in Sweden. I learn organizing skills through it and keeps my love for cooking alive. Gym and fitness improves my endurance level to handle the cold climate in sweden and to avoid depression and stress.

How fun, right? There is always a way to add more fun during your study here at Chalmers. Keep up the good work, study hard, and have fun harder! Vi ses!

Interview by Alberta Maria Titis Rum Kuntari with Joel Alexander and Akhilesh Krishna
Pictures by Joel Alexander and Akhilesh Krishna

Page manager Published: Wed 26 Apr 2017.